England decision to re-paint pitch markings helped Ireland win the Grand Slam
On Friday night, it was reported that the RFU were going to paint the Twickenham pitch markings blue. With the Met Office issuing an amber weather warning with an 80% chance of snow, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable decision.
With a strong, icy wind, the temperature was always going to plummet but Jacob Stockdale and the lads in green certainly did their best to set fire to London with some scintillating rugby.
Stockdale scored a decisive third try right on the stroke of half-time, chipping the ball over Mike Brown, haring past him and surging towards the try line. The ball took a bounce off Stockdale's knee but the Munster wing got to the ball and touched down right at the back of the goal area.
It was close, but it was definitely a try and, when Johnny Sexton duly converted, it gave Ireland a comfortable 21-5 lead heading into half-time, the boys in green practically skipping down the tunnel after a perfectly-timed jolt of momentum.
Stockdale's try was his seventh in this Six Nations championship, making him a record-breaker.
— Sportsfile (@sportsfile) March 17, 2018
But wait, it gets better. The RFU's decision to paint blue lines actually meant that Stockdale's try could stand. As you can see below, the old line was a little further in. Had the lines not been touched, Stockdale wouldn't have got there in time.
Old dead ball line in white, new one (moved by England) in blue. That's comical. pic.twitter.com/6XAs4sFgs1
— Ben Coles (@bencoles_) March 17, 2018
Talking about a plan that backfired.....😂😂😂😂
— Mabutie_Nanto (@Mabutie) March 17, 2018
This what they mean by a soft border?#paddysdaybrexit
— Mark Raleigh (@raleigh_m) March 17, 2018
We'll happily take that, thank you very much.
stockdale when england want to push the try line back but it doesn’t work in their favour pic.twitter.com/6PWR55Ar6B
— ria (@orphicbiggar) March 17, 2018
— Mick Slater (@MickalSlater) March 17, 2018
It was great to see Stockdale on the scoresheet but this just makes it even sweeter. Had Stockdale not scored that try, the second half may have seen the pendulum swing in England's favour.
Luckily for Ireland, though, Stockdale is remarkably clinical.